With kauri dieback and Dutch elm disease both being hot issues in Auckland right now, in this blog post we’ll explain exactly what’s going on with tree disease in the City of Sails, and what this could mean for tree owners.
Over the past year, the increase in cases of kauri dieback amongst the Auckland region’s kauri trees has propelled the disease further into the public consciousness. Kauri dieback, as its name suggests, only affects kauri trees, but is fatal and incurable to them and spreads rapidly through infected soil and the mud that humans and animals track from tree to tree.
This has led to widespread cases in areas near the walking tracks in the Waitakere Ranges, which have since been closed, with other suspected cases throughout Auckland and nearby regions – a tree in Chelsea Estate Heritage Park on the North Shore was recently cleared of the disease. While kauri dieback is an issue we should all be aware of, Auckland tree owners are unlikely to have kauri on their properties, and therefore won’t be an issue for most people.
Dutch elm disease
This fatal fungal disease has recently affected elm trees in Central Auckland – most notably a group of trees outside the Auckland Art Gallery, and trees on ?hinerau / Mt Hobson, all of which had to be removed as fast as possible to stop the spread of the disease. Dutch elm is spread by the Elm Bark Beetle, which carries fungal spores from tree to tree, and can be spotted by the presence of wilting, curling, and yellowing leaves, or dying and dead branches and trees.
As elm trees are much more common on Auckland properties than kauris, it’s important that elm tree owners take the time to inspect their trees for this kind of decay, and know that any affected trees have to be completely removed as soon as possible to minimise the chance of the disease spreading – no firewood for you!
Another fungal disease affecting plants in the myrtle family, which includes iconic trees and plants such as p?hutukawa, m?nuka, r?t? and ramarama, is myrtle rust, which is easily spread and can be spotted by bright yellow/orange powdery patches on leaves. Tree owners who spot myrtle rust should contact the Ministry of Primary Industries Exotic Pest and Disease hotline, as the disease is being treated on a national level due to large-scale infections of tree nurseries and feijoa plantations.
The consequences of tree disease
With less-serious diseases or fungi, it’s possible to save your trees with simple tree cutting to remove the affected branches. However, if a tree on your property is affected by one of these serious fatal diseases above, it’s very likely that an entire tree removal will be the only solution to stop further spread of the disease.
If you do discover a diseased tree, search for information and contact the relevant branch of council or government. If you need trees pruned, trimmed, or removed on your property, Heaven Contracting are providers of the most trusted and reliable tree services Auckland has to offer, with more than 25 years of experience working as arborists in and around the Auckland area.
You can contact us online, or by phone on 027 475 2445 to inquire about our range of tree services, which start at simple trimming and are as extensive as full tree removal with stump grinding and mulching.